The saint for March 26
Saint Ludger
Opt. Memorial--Local Only
Roman Calendar---esp. Netherlands

Born c.743 at Zuilen, Friesland (Netherlands)
Died March 26, 809 (Passion Sunday)
Canonized Pre-Congregation

Ludger was born into a noble Frisian family which produced other saints in his siblings, Gerburgis and Hildegrin. The young Ludger was much moved when he saw the great Saint Boniface preach in 753. He received the monastic habit from St. Gregory of Utrecht, with whom he studied, at the age of 14. He was ordained a deacon at the age of 24, in about 767, but did not become a priest until prevailed upon to do so by St. Alberic, in 777.

Ludger was a missionary to Friesland from 773 until 784 when he was driven out, along with all missionaries, by the invading Saxons. In the time he was there he made great progress, founding several monasteries and converting great numbers of Frieselanders.
For two years, Ludger lodged at Monte Cassino, wearing the habit and following the rule of Saint Benedict, but did not take vows. When Charlemagne conquered Friesia, Ludger returned to the missionary field he so obviously considered his flock. He was a missionary to the Saxons, and founded a great monastery at Munster. Charlemagne, gave him spiritual charge over the whole large territory. In 804 he became the first bishop of Munster.

Ludger was very devoted to God, learned in scripture and ascetical in his behavior. He much preferred to use his incomes for the sevice of the poor, than the lining of his pockets or the ornamentation of churches.  He always put his service to the Lord above all else, on one occasion keeping even the emperor waiting until the conclusion of his duties. This was especially notable since the emperor was concerned that Ludger was not properly investing in the ornamentation of his churches, and his appearance was meant to be in the nature of a reprimand. Nothing daunted, Ludger explained that though he had the most profound respect for his majesty, God was infinitely far above him; such that while we are at prayer or liturgy before the Lord it is our duty to put everything else aside. He reminded Charlemagne that when he had been invested as bishop, Charlemagne himself had charged him to prefer the service of God to that of men, so that he felt he was doing, as well, what the emperor had commanded. He was completely exonerated by this reply.

Though he became afflicted with the maladies of old age, Ludger never let up the pace of his duties, or shirked his time at prayer. He died while on a preaching tour of his See, and on the day of his death, although wretchedly ill, celebrated Mass twice, and kept up his full schedule.

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